Bug Out or Stay Put?
[Preparation and Assessing Threats for the correct course of action]

The goal of this blog is to encourage Planning and Preparation for emergencies or changes in resources, the environment or economy. Of all the "emergencies" I've experienced, I never needed to leave my house? Staying put was the best place to be. Of all the other things that "could" happen, staying put (Shelter-In-Place) will, most likely, be the best option than evacuating ("bugging out"). So, when I see some of the extreme evacuation preparations on TV or read the plans for putting so much time and money in preparing to leave "just in case", I think just how likely is that going to happen and could the efforts be better spent on surviving where they are.

You must be able to read the signs of the times to prepare emotionally and physically. Always stay informed (from both ends and the middle of the political scale) of current events.

In one of my former roles, I did Risk Assessments and have applied this process to my Emergency Planning. I make a list of my assets and think of the potential threats against my assets, then try to determine the likelihood (how often) those threats could occur, then identify the plans and resources I have to protect and respond to those threats. 99.99% of the time, I will be staying home. So, most of my planning is based on staying home. However, I do have plans for relocating on that rare occasion. Part of that plan is being able to quickly mobilize, what I have prepared for staying home, to a predetermined evacuation location. Do you live near a plant that manufactures or stores dangerous chemicals, a nuclear power plant, in an area susceptible to tornados, fires or flooding? You need to evaluate the potential threats where you live and work and plan accordingly.

I try not to think in the extreme; the simpler the better and easier to remember. For example, instead of an underground bunker, my plans include visiting a friend or family member several hundred miles away toting all my home-prep stuff with me in my pickup truck. Naturally, I must know that they are not be facing the same predicament that I'm running away from. Fortunately, my friends and family extend to many states far and wide.

When something happens, you will need to decide to do one OR the other or one THEN the other. THE most important thing is to HAVE A PLAN, and the preparations, for the decision you make.

The moral of this Posting is, think of what could happen and how often it could happen and plan and prepare logically and sensibly so that your planning efforts are focused properly. There are two basic intelligent choices. A third choice (don't plan and just wing it) boggles my mind, and I would rather believe that the readers of this blog are more intelligent than that, so let's stick with only choices 1 and 2:

1 - STAY PUT (Shelter In Place):    [
Blog Link]
Sheltering in place is [hopefully] a short-term solution to address a biological, chemical, nuclear, radiological or civil unrest threat. The objective is to protect those of us inside, from the bad stuff outside. Pre-planning should stock the "shelter" with water, food and other supplies for, at least, a 2-week stay without venturing outside. Additional tips, here, will help take the necessary actions to effectively shelter in place.

Learn how to evaluate When Bugging Out Is not an Option. Stay where you are (Shelter In Place) at home, or at work, and be able to Survive Where You Are for a reasonable period of time without any outside assistance. An Emergency Kit will be just as important when Sheltering In Place as it would be if evacuating.

Fortifying your residence (or where you are) at the time of an emergency, my require blocking and covering windows and doors for protection against bad weather or intruders. This should be considered and planned long before it is necessary.
Tips For Sheltering In Place
Build a [Hidden] Safe Room
Build a Safe Room or Survival Bunker
Additional Information to Consider During a Nuclear Event

2 - BUG OUT (Evacuate):
This action is something you should have practiced as part of your planning process. You may, or may not, have a choice to evacuate depending on the circumstances and you may, or may not have the option to take your pet(s) or anything else you had intended to take. If you do have time and a choice, review the contents of your Emergency Kit and modify if needed before leaving. Quickly and efficiently evacuate your home, or work, and travel to a predetermined destination . . . know where you will go, what you will take and how you will get there. Usually, it is best to leave under the cover of darkness. Dark clothes (and dark vehicles) will be beneficial.

Pre-Evacuation Checklist: If it becomes necessary to Bug-Out during an emergency or prepare for a carefree vacation and homecoming, what is done to prepare the home or business before leaving, can be as important as what is done while away. Here's a checklist to consider for planning before leaving home for extended periods of time. Additionally, it's good to have a (Grab-n-Go) list of items that need to take with you. This list should identify where they are located (to avoid hunting) in the house.
Sample List Templates

When is it time to evacuate?
If you bug out too soon, you may discover the emergency was not really as bad as first thought, wasting time and resources. But if bugging out too late, you could find yourself in a worse position than you were in had you stayed.
    Considerations for a Bug Out (R.E.D.O.U.T.)
    Staying Tuned to the News is staying informed of the situation to make an educated decision. The acronym R.E.D.O.U.T. may give some idea of when it's time to implement your bug out plan. Any one or combination may send you packin'.
      Resources are almost gone - life-sustaining supplies are dangerously low, and no way of replenishing or obtaining more in the area
      Environment no longer safe - a flood, wild-fire, hurricane, chemical spill, mass rioting/looting, etc. making the area unsafe to stay in
      Destination is safer than where you are
      Overwhelming force against you - potentially dangerous and determined groups that are a real safety threat to you or your family
      Unprepared for the situation - your preparations do not address this kind of event
      Threat is increasing - the danger is growing in size or strength or getting, uncomfortably, closer

Document a BugOut Plan:    [Blog Link]
Depending on the emergency, you may have only minutes to gather supplies and leave the comfort and security of home. Have an Evacuation Checklist ready to follow to quickly grab what is needed.
  • Determine backroad travel routes in a vehicle and on foot to avoid traffic and unrest
  • Pre-travel determined travel routes to get familiar with supplies and shelter along the way
  • Consider planting survival caches of supplies along the determined routes for re-supply during the trip
  • Take a compass and detailed road map/atlas (even if it's out of date) in case GPS is unavailable
  • Keep vehicles bugout-ready and stay physically fit
  • Know where emergency supplies are stored for easy retrieval.
  • List supplies to take (food, water, clothing, meds, toiletries, documents) for on foot and vehicle evacuation.
  • Practice the Plan
  • At an appropriate time along the way, contact friends/family to relay your details.
Consider these Evacuation Checklists:    [List 1]    [List 2]    [List 3]    [List 4]
Pre-Evacuation Checklist
FEMA-Forced Evacuations and Restrictions

Bug-Out Transportation:
When Traffic Grinds to a Halt, What Will You Drive? Generally, every vehicle should be in good mechanical condition, fueled-up, contain its own bug-out bag, printed map and compass (don't rely on GPS working) and ready for bugging out because we never know where we will be when a "get outta Dodge" situation happens. Here are a few things to consider when selecting and preparing a vehicle.

Alternative Evacuation Methods: A large percentage of the population don't have access to a personal vehicle, use public transportation or are unable to drive. Consider these options for evacuating.

If It's Necessary to Travel on Foot    [Blog Link]
. . . walk silently in a single file (if there are multiple people in your party) for the appearance of a single person from the front or rear of the column to help reduce attention to the exodus. Reference: Escape and Evade
Dangerous Hiking Mistakes Most People Make: When planning a hike, keep in mind to have a solution for the following . . . even highly experienced mountain packers can get into trouble – in a heartbeat.
  • Failing to properly prepare for the journey (fitness, gear, supplies)
  • Lacking enough hydration
  • Not using all their senses
  • Being unaware of the surroundings
  • Not understanding trail difficulty
  • Grabbing everything in sight
  • Having a lone wolf attitude
  • Going off-trail

Essentials for Choosing the Perfect Bug Out Location:    [Blog Post]
The purpose of a bug out location is to get away from the chaos and potential danger a SHTF situation can generate. Here are some things to consider when choosing a bug out location.
  • Distance - far enough away from the madness yet close enough without driving for many hours (or days)
  • Seclusion - difficult to find, off the main roads, good tree cover
  • Routes to Get There - plan at least three different routes that will ensure you arrive safely
  • Shelter - have a pre-fab shelter on site or bring something to live in comfortably
  • Water - should have a good source of water nearby that isn't too public
  • Self-Sufficiency - able to provide/sustain garden, livestock, fire wood, hunting, fishing, source of electricity (solar, wind, and/or water)
  • Climate Friendly - be sure to choose an area you feel confident you can survive, long-term, with every aspect of the climate
  • Security - easy to be defended and secured
  • Natural Threats - should not be prone to earthquakes, flooding, forest fires, tornadoes, or hurricanes
  • Red Tape - avoid government regulations like zoning, building permits, etc.
    Other Resources:    [Article 2]    [Article 3]
    Survival Communities
    Shelters for Off-Grid Living and Emergencies

NOTE: Consider that the terrain to the selected bugout location may prevent or delay First Responders in an emergency. Generally, insurance companies will not insure properties without an official/government 911 address so structures may not be eligible to be covered by [home owner] insurance. Additionally, properties/structures that are not occupied for long periods of time may be considered "vacation" properties and may carry higher insurance premiums if they are eligible to be insured. If you are serious about a total "off-grid" location, consider these and other potential risks.

Some resources to consider:
Urban Survival Guide
How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios
When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Prepping and Crisis Survival

See Also:
Preparing a Bug Out Bag
Travel Guide for Safety & Security